When Dark Clouds Gather
The heaviness is not limited to emotions. The heaviness is also in our bodies, thinking and spirit. It seems to permeate every fiber of our beings. It can be debilitating and paralyzing. Often, we go through the motions – the “requirements” of life. It can feel like we are living in a dense fog – mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. #depression
Work. Kids to school. Dinner. Dishes. Ruminate over all the poor choices, unpaid bills, lack of willpower, unmet expectations – and then TRY to sleep. Or TRY to get out of bed after a night of poor sleep.
Sleep. If only. Exhausted, yet now after a day of being unable to focus, the brain runs a hundred miles a second reminding us of every slight, every failure, every missed opportunity, every awkward word, every terrifying moment of this horribly inadequate and unmanageable life.
What do you notice about the narrative?
This narrative is typical of a person battling depression. Thoughts are incredibly negative, self-berating and self-defeating. Often, there is an inability to recognize anything joyful or good in life. Negatives are over-emphasized in our thought lives. Neutral interactions are evaluated negatively. Even potentially positive occurrences are viewed with suspicion and the depressed person looks for how things will fall apart; talks him or herself into believing that it will never change. Even victories are seen negatively – the person may feel that it’s only a matter of time before they are found a fraud or failure.
The depressed person is unable to accept the truth of positivity and it is a deep well to hoist yourself out of. This is the point at which many depressed people look for help. The alternatives are real – many contemplate suicide as a way out of their pain. But that is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, for sure. If this sounds like you or someone you love, please reach out for help.
One thing in life is guaranteed though – things WILL CHANGE. There is HOPE.
Think it through. Although we can feel like life is a runs on parallel, worn out rutted tracks, the truth is that every day presents some kind of change. Rain, sunshine, foggy, clear, snow, hot, cold. Work day, school day, summer vacation, seasonal changes, holidays, good meals, not-so-good meals, time with family, time alone. Life is really full of change.
Although circumstances seem dreary today, we can count on circumstances changing tomorrow. We must look for it. We must look for it differently as well.
One of the things we can control is how we think about things. This is key for almost every person dealing with depression. We can try to see the dreary from a different point of view – a changed perspective.
The Bible supports this in Philippians 4:8 (ESV) says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (emphasis mine)
While that may be difficult for the person battling depression, sharing thoughts with a trained counselor and being willing to entertain some challenges to those negative perspectives can help shift thinking just a bit at a time. Sometimes medication is appropriate as well.
Wonderful things can happen when we decide to intentionally, consistently challenge our negative thoughts and entertain thinking on things that are pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:9 (ESV) says when we are able to take those patterns of thinking, and turn them into behavior, then “the peace of God will be with you”.
There is hope. It may not seem true today, but it is.
There is hope. It just takes a little sunshine to burn off that fog.